Rescue Workers Appeal, 1916


In September 1916, an anonymous volunteer involved in the rescue and recovery of people in difficulties in the River Clyde was concerned about the frequency of drownings  in the Village. He wrote to the papers making an appeal, as follows word for word:

“As I was one of the voluntary rescue party the recent drowning accident of a boy in the Clyde at Blantyre Village, I trust you will allow me a little your valuable space to air grievance and make a suggestion.

As well known to the residents of Blantyre, drowning accidents have, lately, been occurring pretty frequently, and I don’t think the public realise the danger that is attached to such work. As regards the recent case, the difficulties which had to overcome before appliances for the finding of the body had been obtained were great. Nobody in authority could give you assistance, even though the case had been reported. After the necessary appliances were secured, the rescue party continued their arduous work for six days before the body was recovered, during which time several narrow escapes from injury were witnessed; fact, in one instance one of party while diving received a nasty knock to the head from an iron rail projecting at the bottom of the Clyde, and had to be taken home.

Is it not possible that something could be done to alter this state of matters? I would suggest that the necessary appliances—which might consist of life-belt, boat, and grappling irons—be kept near at hand, and might it not possible to form a permanent rescue party from the Blantyre village, where I have no doubt there are sufficient willing workers, who could undertake the duties without delay?

It would lessen the anxiety of parents if something could be done to remedy this defect. I would also mention that it is exceedingly hard for a voluntary worker to be thrown off work owing to having contracted rheumatics from being too long in the cold water, and receiving no remuneration whatever. I trust my suggestion will bear fruit, and that something will be done to prevent these young lives being lost at this part the Clyde.— I am, etc.. Voluntary Worker. Blantyre. September 13, 1916.”

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Ann Maxwell Our neighbour in Calder St had her fathers grappling hooks and other things as he tescued people from the clyde.

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